The Mystery Is Fully Manifested in the Passion and Resurrection[a]
The Plot against Jesus.[b] 1 It was now two days before the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread, and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking to arrest Jesus by deceit and put him to death. 2 They said, “It must not occur during the feast, or the people may begin to riot.”
A Woman of Bethany Anoints Jesus.[c] 3 When Jesus was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came in with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, made of pure nard. She broke open the jar and poured the ointment over his head. 4 Some of those present said to one another indignantly, “Why was this ointment wasted in such a manner? 5 It could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii,[d] with the money given to the poor.” And they began to rebuke her sharply.
6 However, Jesus said, “Let her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has performed a good action toward me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish, but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could. She has anointed my body to prepare for my burial. 9 Amen, I say to you, wherever in the whole world this gospel is proclaimed, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
10 Judas Betrays Jesus.[e] Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests and offered to hand him over to them. 11 They were delighted when they heard his proposal, and they promised to give him money. Then he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
12 The Preparations for the Passover.[f] On the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, the disciples said to Jesus, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
13 He sent forth two of his disciples, instructing them: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jug of water will meet you. Follow him! 14 Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: “Where is the room where I can eat the Passover with my disciples?” ’ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” 16 The disciples went forth, entered the city, and found everything just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
17 The Treachery of Judas Foretold.[g] Now when evening came, he arrived with the Twelve. 18 And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 On hearing this they began to be distressed and to say to him, one after another, “Is it I?”
20 He said to them, “It is one of the Twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
22 The Last Supper.[h] While they were eating he took bread, and after he had pronounced the blessing, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after offering thanks he gave it to them. After they all drank from it, 24 he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many. 25 Amen, I say to you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I shall drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
26 And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
27 Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial.[i] Then Jesus said to them, “You will all be scandalized, for it is written:
‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
28 But after I have been raised up, I shall go ahead of you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even if all the others will be scandalized, I will never be.” 30 Jesus replied, “Amen, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But Peter insisted, “If I have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same thing.
32 The Agony in the Garden.[j] Then they went to a place that was called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took with him Peter and James and John, and he began to suffer distress and anguish. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful, even to the point of death. Remain here and keep watch.”
35 Moving on a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass him by, 36 saying, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible. Take this cup from me. Yet not my will but yours be done.”
37 Returning to the disciples, he found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Stay awake and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak.”
39 Again, he went apart and prayed, saying the same words. 40 Then he came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to say to him. 41 When he returned a third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come when the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up! Let us go! Look, my betrayer is approaching.”
43 Jesus Is Arrested.[k] At once, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him there was a crowd of men, armed with swords and clubs, who had been sent by the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44 Now his betrayer had agreed with them on a signal, saying, “The one I shall kiss is the man. Arrest him, and lead him away under guard!” 45 And so, when he came, he proceeded directly to Jesus and said “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 Then they seized him and placed him under arrest. 47 Meanwhile, one of the bystanders drew his sword and struck a servant of the high priest, slicing off his ear.
48 Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you coming forth with swords and clubs to arrest me, as though I were a bandit? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But in this way the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled. 51 [l]Among those who had followed Jesus was a young man wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, 52 but he slipped out of the linen cloth and ran off naked.
53 Jesus Is Condemned by the Sanhedrin.[m] They led Jesus away to the high priest, where the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were gathering. 54 Meanwhile, Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest, and he was sitting there with the attendants, warming himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin[n] tried to elicit testimony against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they failed in their efforts. 56 Many witnesses offered perjured testimony against him, but their statements did not agree. 57 Then some stood up and gave this false witness against him: 58 “We heard this man say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another not made with hands.’ ” 59 But even on this point their statements did not agree.
60 The high priest then rose among them and asked Jesus, “Have you no reply to counter the testimony that these witnesses have given?” 61 [o]But he remained silent and offered no response. Again, the high priest questioned him, asking, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”[p] 62 Jesus replied, “I am.
And you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power
and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
63 Thereupon the high priest tore his garments and exclaimed, “What need do we have of any further witnesses! 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” They all condemned him as guilty and deserving of death. 65 Some of them began to spit at him. They blindfolded him and struck him, taunting him as they said, “Prophesy!” And the guards also slapped him.
66 Peter Denies Jesus.[q] While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s servant girls came by. 67 When she noticed Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” Thereupon he went forth into the outer courtyard. Then the cock crowed.[r] 69 The servant girl saw him and again began to say to the bystanders: “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it.
Shortly afterward, some bystanders said to Peter, “You are unquestionably one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 Then he began to shout curses, and he swore an oath: “I do not know this man you are talking about.” 72 At that very moment, a cock crowed for a second time, and Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
- Mark 14:1 The Passion Narrative that makes the deepest impression is perhaps that of Mark’s Gospel. The writer does not aim to move the reader, still less to satisfy our curiosity with edifying anecdotes and points of information. The description is vivid, unpolished, clear-cut. Mark piles up concrete, detailed incidents in order to highlight the tragic character of the struggle that Jesus is carrying on alone, isolated in his silence and humiliation. It is precisely in his abasement that Jesus shows himself to be the Messiah, the King of Israel, Son of God, and Savior of the world.
- Mark 14:1 We are at the religious high point of the year, the time of Passover, which is followed by the feast of Unleavened Bread, that is, an eight-day celebration during which only unleavened bread was eaten (see Deut 16:1-8; Ex 12:5-20).
- Mark 14:3 At this period the burial of the dead was regarded as an indispensable work of charity and of greater merit than almsgiving. In the present circumstances of Jesus, the woman’s gesture of respect becomes a sign of his imminent death. In addition, in Mark’s Gospel the ointment is poured on the head of Jesus, suggesting an act of consecration.
- Mark 14:5 Three hundred denarii: a year’s wages, a denarius being a day’s wages for a laborer.
- Mark 14:10 See note on Mt 26:14-16.
- Mark 14:12 See notes on Mt 26:17-19 and 26:17.
- Mark 14:17 See note on Mt 26:20-25.
- Mark 14:22 Four accounts of the Lord’s Supper are found in the New Testament (Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19-20; and 1 Cor 11:23-25). Matthew and Mark are similar to one another while Luke and Paul are also similar to each other. All four accounts include (1) the taking of the bread; (2) the thanksgiving or blessing; (3) the breaking of the bread; (4) the saying, “This is my body”; (5) the taking of the cup; and (6) the explanation of the relation of blood to the Covenant. Only Luke and Paul record the command to continue to celebrate the Supper, “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24).
In giving his body and blood Jesus anticipates the action of his enemies, and his death becomes an offering to God, the sacrifice of the Servant who expiates the sin of the entire people (Isa 53). By this act he establishes the New Covenant; it inaugurates a new relationship between God and humanity.
- Mark 14:27 Despite the protestations of the Twelve that they will never abandon him, Jesus predicts that they will do so. But he also reassures them that after his Resurrection he will see them again in Galilee (Mk 16:7; see Mt 26:32; 28:7, 10, 16; Jn 21) where he first called them (Mk 1:14-20).
- Mark 14:32 See note on Mt 26:36-46.
- Mark 14:43 See notes on Mt 26:47-56 and 26:47-48.
- Mark 14:51 This detail is only in Mark. Many commentators have considered the young man to be Mark himself.
- Mark 14:53 See note on Mt 26:57-68.
- Mark 14:55 Sanhedrin: the highest tribunal of the Jews. In New Testament times, it numbered 71 members: chief priests, elders, and scribes, plus the high priest who presided over the proceedings. The Romans gave the tribunal much authority but not over capital punishment (see Jn 18:31). See also note on Mt 27:1-2.
- Mark 14:61 Just when he is being judged and abased, Jesus for the first time openly declares himself to be the Messiah, of royal descent and divine rank (Ps 110:1; Dan 7:13).
The Jewish authorities are scandalized and condemn him. He then suffers the harsh lot of the Servant prophet.
- Mark 14:61 Son of the Blessed One: in late Judaism people avoided uttering the name of God, as a sign of respect; they preferred other expressions such as “the Blessed One” or “the Power” (v. 62).
- Mark 14:66 See note on Mt 26:69-75.
- Mark 14:68 Then the cock crowed: these words are found in most manuscripts but omitted in some.